Victim of extremely rare disease dies

A Pietermaritzburg teenager has died of a rare disease that destroys lung tissue, the Witness reported on Tuesday.

Carla Serfontein died on Monday of necrotic pneumonia after spending 18 days in an induced coma.

File photo - A KZN teenager has died of a rare lung disease after only being sick for only less than a day and a half. Credit: AFP

Her mother Deidre Serfontein said Carla was only sick for a day and a half before she decided to take her to hospital.

Dr Brett Cullis, an intensive care specialist, said necrotic pneumonia was a rare disease contracted by only one or two people in three million.

The bacterium that caused it was in the community. The bacterial infection destroyed lung tissue, Cullis said.

“People usually get if after they've had flu,” he was quoted as saying in the Witness.

Serfontein said her daughter's lungs were badly damaged and that she needed numerous transfusions of blood and platelets, sometimes seven units a day.

Cullis said the disease had a high mortality rate - most people who contracted the infection would die.

“Carla was given every conceivable treatment. She was simply too sick to recover,” he said.